Sharley Melissa Aloyo
H3Africa PI: David Kateete
Institution: Makerere University
Project Affiliation: BRecA
Background: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) developed into a global pandemic that affected the health of hundreds of millions worldwide (Mariam, 2022). In particular, SARS-CoV-2 infection in people with chronic human immune deficiency virus (HIV) infection is of concern, due to their already immunocompromised status. SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4 T cells have been shown to undergo robust activation and proliferation while CD8 T cells have been reported to undergo exhaustion in some hospitalized COVID-19 patients (Yang and Iwasaki 2021). Recent findings have shown that people living with HIV may be at increased risk of severe SARS-CoV-2 mediated disease complication due to functional impairment of the immune system and persistent inflammation, which can be ameliorated by antiretroviral therapy (Yang and Iwasaki 2021).
Objectives: 1) To compare the adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in HIV-positive individuals with those who are HIV-negative 2) To determine whether the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection is affected by HIV coinfection. 3) To evaluate the role of CD4+ T cells in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 in HIV-positive individuals.
Methodology: This study will use flow cytometry to analyze peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from COVID-19 patients. We shall analyze samples from participants coinfected with HIV and COVID-19 and participants with COVID-19 only. Specifically, we will immune profile CD4, CD8, and B cells for activation, proliferation, exhaustion, or memory states.